Fisheries Infosite

Paddle Crab Sub-Antarctic (PAD6)
Maori name
Papaka (Northern tribes)
Scientific name
Ovalipes catharus

Physical characteristics

Paddle Crab can grow to a length of 150 mm, but have an average size of 130 mm.

Life cycle

Paddle Crab have been estimated to reach at least 4-5 years of age. Growth and maturity parameters differ according to environmental conditions. Spawning takes place in inshore waters during winter and spring.


Paddle Crabs are found off sandy beaches, harbours and estuaries throughout New Zealand. They are most abundant from the intertidal zone to depths of at least 10 m. Paddle Crab are active at night and move to shallow areas to feed on molluscs, crustaceans, polychaetes, fish and algae.

Key statistics
Reported commercial catch1 (tonnes)
Quota value estimate2 (NZ$m)
Exports estimate2 (NZ$m)
1 Reported commercial catch is calculated for the 12 month period to 30/09/2025
2 Quota value and exports are calculated pro-rata to reported commercial catch for the 12 month period to 30/09/2025